The Highway Halfway Mark

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The Highway Halfway Mark 

by Jacqueline Cioffa

I wonder, I do. I cannot help but wonder what’s down the road from the place I have ever truly called home. The wood and grass and nails and bolts, the wet familiar dew smells and giggling baby sounds.The joy and the sorrow. I can’t help but observe and wonder. The funny, peculiar, crooked way of seeing the world that is all my own. The structure has cracks, fissures and deep gaping holes, pockets that need love and attention, there is patching and mending to be done. I don’t know if I have enough glue stored in the chicken coop to hold the facade together before the walls come crumbling down. I am for better or worse, at the highway halfway mark.

I mind I do, at times. I mind a lot.

Sometimes, I don’t mind at all. I laugh and live, and get lost in the hilarious, fleeting moments. I get scared, frightened, and paralyzed too. Funny, I was never scared as a child. I was wild, fearless fierce and strong.

Maybe I greedily used up all the miles and worn down the treads on my running shoes. New Balance 574’s. There’s nowhere, no road, no mountain, no distances left, no place far and enough away to hide.

That’s okay. It’s all right. I do get tired sometimes. Mostly, I wish I could bottle up the Lupita lovely creature cuddled beside me. Her warmth and heat and breath and beating heart radiate and rejuvenate my childlike spirit. Her smile makes me weepy. I can’t. I can’t keep her here with me.

I cannot understand the death concept, wrap my head around this curious mystery called life. I try, but maybe I can’t comprehend a life without all the people and places I have cherished and loved. Close, always close by even when separated by continents and telephone lines.

My mother and I don’t see eye to eye on so many things. I talk too much, worry too much, cry too much, am crazy too much and yet she is here in her first forever home and mine folding the laundry. Her pace slow, her gait sad, her grit defeated and still she is cemented together, red brick stronger than I. She realizes her halfway mark has long expired, and that makes me hold my breath.

As if I could stop time between the inhale and exhale before the next.

As if. I’m stalling, still. Silly me, I am a grownup who’s not very grownup at all. I understand that hanging on tight to the breath is wishful thinking and I will most surely pass out. I can’t help be hopeful and delusional at times. It hurts to catch my breath.

Here, at the highway halfway mark.

White Wings and Things #StolenMoments #Poetry

From time to time you’ll see Stolen Moments show up on the blog. Words forgotten and misplaced, poetry, anticipatory memories, prose, joy and sorrow, pensive emotion, random and not so random thoughts scribbled in tattered notebooks. To not forget but remember the precious, fleeting stolen moments in time. I’m a writer trying recapture on paper how it feels to be alive.

White Wings and Things 

Happy Birthday to Me

March 2005

She has you now

In this lifetime

But she holds tight with fear

Her gut feeling freedom is your favorite word

I am not worried or sad

For you or me

Because I’ll most certainly know you beyond the ether

In the next and the next and the next cushions of white comfort love

The void in time and space

We imagine far up up and away

The secret elusive illusion

With sure and absolute devotion

We have lived this fleeting glance before

Without question

There are no walls to break

No bars to stand behind

Open your eyes

So you may extend your arms wide

And open your heart with wings

White wings made of cotton clouds

Allow yourself a glimpse of the most precious kind of love

And read Kahlil Gibran

For he dreams far better than I

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle.

I’m tired.

Wiped, discouraged, caput, worn down, exhausted.

I am not winning this mammoth battle with the mind. I can no longer distinguish between mania and anxiety, thoughts race ahead anyway without definition. Oxygen depleted and unrelenting physical pain does not let up.

No, no, no, no way. There’s no way I can keep up with this living thing. I am not strong enough.

Am I?

Just when I think I have used and abused every single resource left with no reserve, a timely reminder appears.

It’s not about me, it never was. This life is not mine to begin with. I am circular memories, sand granules stolen backwards in time.

Precious quartz that most assuredly slips through my fingers returning to earth how it began.

So what if I can’t see clearly when the angels can?

So what if I can’t see clearly when the angels can?

“Your time stamp is 2:22 which in angel numerology means, “Don’t quit before your miracle occurs!” 

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“Newly planted ideas are beginning to grow into reality. Keep watering and nurturing them, and soon they will push through the soil.”

I believe in angels, pixie dust, numbers, crystals, and dark/ light matters we cannot see or comprehend.

To dream wearing a featherweight light suit of armor while speckles of  gold, violet, teal, fuchsia and indigo angel dust flutters abound.

"Raw genius is rarely loud or pretentious." Jacqueline Cioffa #maryellenmark

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Mary Ellen Mark

In modeling you go on countless go-sees, maybe twenty a day. Most forgotten before you hit the bottom stair. I remember being nervous, awestruck walking into the brilliant photographer’s studio apartment, she had ‘requested’ to see me. Mary Ellen Mark wore no makeup, trademark braids and a gentle demeanor not to be mistaken for meekness. Raw genius is rarely loud or pretentious. I didn’t book the job, but remain an admirer of the sublime talent, gritty breathtaking portraits, and the woman.

Mary Ellen Mark, thank you. That was an unforgettable day.
“A photographer known for her incredible humanist photography, passed away Monday in New York City. A rep confirmed the news Tuesday morning. She was 75.”

Mary Ellen Mark : 801C-001-01XManhattan, New York, USA  1996Portrait by Michael O'Brien
Mary Ellen Mark : 801C-001-01XManhattan, New York, USA 1996Portrait by Michael O’Brien

http://www.maryellenmark.com/index.html

Images ©Mary Ellen Mark photography

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Ward 81 Book – Mary Ellen Mark  #amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Ellen-Mark-Ward-81/dp/8862080557

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True gray with primary colors whirling all around

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I wasn’t going to write a sappy. I wasn’t. But, I jumped. 

My father was and always will be the great love of my life. It’s been seven years, the 5th of May. I know the date I was there beside him. My mom, too. I can’t speak for my brothers, nieces or anyone who had the good fortune to meet him. He taught me everything I know about kindness, loyalty, humor, respect, family and faith. His faith was unnerving, never wavering for one second. I was a hellion, a wild child and my dad never judged. He watched and waited to pick up the pieces. There are too many stories. One I remember vividly. I was 18, spoiled brat, came home drunk, puking my guts out. I don’t even drink anymore. My father cleaned me up, put me to bed and slept on the floor beside me. I can still feel him near, even if I can’t see him.

“Take care of your mother, be a good girl. I love you with my whole heart.”

Okay dad, I’ll try. Although I’m not sure I’m doing a bang up job. Her and I, we fight. Argue. A lot. Rarely agree on anything. I’d like to wring her neck. This woman, the person I call mom I aim to please. She wanted a cordless vacuum for Mother’s Day, not a fancy car, Dior or diamonds. Something useful with a purpose. That’s all. I’d be so lucky and well-adjusted to be more like her. The original, fearless warrior.

I’ve experienced the love of a father like mine, and a mother. Together, they made our family complete. Wherever you are Choff, I hope you’re winning and smirking that devilish grin. The heavens and the orbs are in your favor. It’s your time.

I have to go right on living. It’s rudimentary. Five-year old mathematics, numbers you live a whole life by.

I think they stink. Crap odds. I have to stay anyway, a while longer. I guess. The canvas resets to a stark sterile dove white, a color choice off a paint swatch. The happy, unhappy complicated family colors muted and wiped clean with the stroke of a paint brush. Obliterated by a sixty dollar gallon of paint.

I close my eyes and trust I will see them, the shade memories. I trust they were indeed real, trust they will remain to guide and comfort the remaining journey.

Putrid acid green, Pepto-Bismol pink, sherbet orange and garish gold marble swirls alive in the brain.

Life lived in increments and numbers. The numbers they never lie.

I hang crystal prisms in the bedroom window to capture the sunbeams washing over my face, remembering the weight and light of a kind of pure and selfless love.

It wasn’t perfect, I’m not deluded I know that.

Life was solid, a true gray with primary colors whirling all around.

And that, you can build upon.

Six feet of dock stretches out over a flat, refreshing cool body of water with no threat of jagged rocks, seaweed, or prey absolutely nothing that could hurt you.

With each breath we count, constantly weighing the risks, odds and numbers.

Me, I love to swim. I need to remember that more often.

Inside every jump right before you hit the water lives the dream and infinite possibility.

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Horseshoe Happy

i remember this place. a traditional Italian family lived here. the smell of meatballs and homemade sauce overpowered your senses inviting you in. lace doilies adorned the kitchen table. plastic pride covered the furniture. linens hung on the clothesline signaling sweet smells of Spring. the barn was once a Soda Pop warehouse, Liberty Beverage. the family is gone now, mom and dad died packing up their stories for a different journey. kids moved out and away. the bank took the house many years ago, leaving it to rot and decay. once there was a neighborhood street, a welcoming family who were proud to call this forgotten dwelling a home. the horseshoe placed upwards over the barn door to hold in all the power it brings and good luck. i remember a happy home and her inviting smells. the cracks of neglect and decay, worn paint can’t take the horseshoe memories away.

Concealer Bare

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I’ve mostly been embarrassed by my looks, I never outgrew the gawky teens years. The fluke modeling career, false impressions people make about you. I downplayed it for half my life, hid in a corner for the benefit of others. There no longer is the need to pretend play that part. As I embark on a more satisfying, terrifying career, I jump. Headfirst. I thought I had to compartmentalize, distance myself from the past, to find the way to my future. I was wrong. I am a serious writer. I write the dark, so I can live in the light. Those who know me, know I’m not so serious at all. I’m eccentric sure, tend to trip up a lot. I’m done pretending, to be something I’m not. I won’t apologize for the life I got. Karma’s a bitch anyway, she bites back hard, when you need taking down a notch. I am, just like you. Only, slightly different. Empathic, I hope. But, sorry I am not. No, sorry is for sissy’s. I’m done with the phrase. I’ve plum worn it out. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, that’s not even close to the sum of its parts. One story belongs exclusively, to you. So I say, go, get on with the living with zero regret.